6 marketing mistakes to avoid with your nonprofit (and what to do instead)

Nonprofits, in my experience, can fall into a variety of traps when it comes to marketing.  As the leader of a nonprofit, what you don’t do is just as important as what you do. Let’s look at 6 mistakes you should avoid.

1. Neglect your online presence

To avoid neglecting your online presence, make sure your website and social media content is updated regularly. Also, continue to improve your site’s appearance—you don’t want a site that looks like it came straight out of 1995 with grainy flash images and gaudy colors. It needs to look professional and polished. You may need to hire someone to help you do this, but think of it a bit like getting a haircut—what will you look like if you don’t pay someone to help?

2. State just the facts instead of the story

People want to feel as though they are part of a story. Providing only facts doesn’t tell a story. 

Instead of just listing facts, make sure your website and other marketing content includes stories that incorporate these facts. For instance, you might have a fact listed that says, “We’ve served over 10,000 people since our inception.” Keeping the fact is good, but you can emphasize this fact by telling some stories about how you’ve served these people. This will draw people in and give them a reason to support you.

In short, accompany some of your facts with stories.

3. Measure nothing

If you don’t assess what has been working and what hasn’t regarding your marketing strategy, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You’ll want to measure your marketing success rates by using Google Analytics and conducting A/B tests. Once you have accurate measurements, you can reassess your marketing initiatives.

4. Ignore your supporters

Your donors and volunteers can provide you with information about what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. If you want to effectively market to your audience, pay attention to what they have to say.

Also, listen to your greatest supporters—your staff. They may have some great ideas on how to improve your nonprofit, which will help when marketing to your audience.

5. Get on too many social media platforms

You can easily stretch yourself too thin when it comes to your social media accounts. Being on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and/or Instagram should help you accomplish your goals, but many beyond that may prove to be a hindrance. After all, you have to keep up with all of these accounts, so why spend time on platforms that have significantly less reach than others? 

6. Spam your supporters

No one likes to feel spammed, whether through email, mail, or phone calls. You’ll have to use your best judgment on how much communication constitutes spam, but you should be aware that if supporters perceive you are spamming them, you could damage your reputation. Make sure you have a record of each person with whom you’ve communicated, how you’ve communicated with him or her, and when the communication took place. Doing so will help you organize your communications and reduce the likelihood of spamming your supporters.

This post was originally written for Inspirely Media. It is used here with permission.

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